CLARK—Cancer doesn’t sleep. And neither will the American Cancer Society until a cure is found. Residents of Union County and surrounding communities are invited to celebrate the lives of local cancer survivors, and remember those lost to cancer at the upcoming Relay For Life of Clark at Arthur L. Johnson High School, 365 Westfield Avenue.
Registration check-in opens on Friday, June 12, at 5 p.m. Opening ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. The event will continue throughout the night until the closing “Victory Lap” Saturday morning, June 13, at 8 a.m.
Relay For Life of Clark is not your typical fundraising walk. It is a unique opportunity for all in the community to make a serious difference in the fight against cancer, while having fun at the same time. Individuals and teams camp-out and picnic, while walking or running around a track “relay” style. Each team has a representative on the track at all times during the overnight event. Donations collected at Relay For Life of Clark support research, advocacy, and patient services in Union County.
“It is a chance to remember and reflect on those who lost the battle – while celebrating the lives of the many survivors who live with this disease and continue their personal fight each and every day”, said Ruthanne Brown, a 14-year American Cancer Society volunteer.
The event begins with the opening ceremonies and the “Survivor Celebration Lap”, where hundreds of survivors proudly walk, move, or run, together around the track. This is an emotional and uplifting time which sets the stage for the importance of each participant’s contribution. A festive atmosphere always develops around the track area as teams of ten to fifteen people make new friends and spend time with old ones.
Another highlight of the evening is an emotional Luminaria Ceremony held at nightfall to honor cancer survivors and to remember those lost to the disease. Volunteers light hundreds of candles which illuminate the perimeter of the track and guide participants during a “silent lap”. Each candle represents the life of an individual who has been touched by cancer. The candles are left burning throughout the night to remind those present of the true importance of their involvement in the Relay For Life event.
Relay For Life is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season, and is the largest grassroots fundraiser in the world, with over 4800 events scheduled this year across the USA. Relay gives everyone an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer. Since the first Relay For Life, held in 1985 in Tacoma, Washington, the event has raised over $1.8 billion. In 2009, Relay For Life is expected to raise over $300 million.
“Relay For Life is a great opportunity for communities to come together and find the 25th hour in the day and use it to fight cancer,” said Beatriz Newborn, director of Relay For Life of Clark. “It provides us with a way to celebrate the cancer survivors in this community, remember those lost to the disease and fight back through advocacy initiatives, education about personal risk, and just by coming together in the belief that cancer will be one day be eliminated.”
As part of the American Cancer Society’s campaign “Find the 25th Hour in the Day” to fight cancer, Relay For Life participants at Berkeley Heights and Woodbridge locations will be encouraged to enroll in the American Cancer Society’s cancer prevention study, “CPS-3”. Those who sign up will play a major role in helping research scientists better understand what causes cancer and how to prevent it. For information on CPS-3, visit the web at www.cancer.org/cps3 .
Relay participants are also encouraged to fight back by learning about their own risk of various cancers based on their age, family history and race. They will also have the opportunity to join the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network to help affect legislation regarding cancer such the Colon and Prostate Cancer Treatment Act.
In addition to the Clark event, the American Cancer Society will host Relay For Life events in many other communities throughout New Jersey, including: Roselle Park, Plainfield, Berkeley Heights, Cranford and Scotch Plains. To find out more about Relay For Life in your community, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.
Everyone is welcome to participate in Relay For Life of Clark, but cancer survivors are the special guests of the American Cancer Society. There is no fee for survivors who are not on a team, but it is requested that those who wish to participate in the Survivor Celebration Ceremonies pre-register before hand, if possible. A $10 donation fee is suggested for other day-of-event participants who have not yet registered on a team.
New and existing teams or individuals from the community are welcome to help the American Cancer Society by joining Relay For Life of Clark in the fight against cancer. For information on Relay For Life volunteer opportunities, contact Beatriz Newborn, American Cancer Society at 973-736-7771 ext. 2005, e-mail: email@example.com, or Stephen Frost, volunteer event chairperson at 732-986-4048, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.relayforlife.org/clarknj .